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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Greater Pewee -- Contopus pertinax
(formerly Coues' Flycatcher)

RANGE: Breeds from central Arizona and southwestern New Mexico south to Central America. Winters in Mexico and Central America, casually north to southern Arizona.

STATUS: Fairly common.

HABITAT: Occurs in mountains up to 10,000 feet near the Mexico border, where it inhabits pine and pine-oak forests with an undergrowth of bushes. Also occurs in sycamore groves along mountain canyons.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Tall trees for feeding perches and for nesting.

NEST: Locates nest on a horizontal fork 10 to 40 feet above the ground in a pine, sycamore, spruce, maple, oak, or other tall tree. Vigorously defends nest against jays, hawks, squirrels, and snakes.

FOOD: Hawks insects from a perch high up in a tall tree. (There are no detailed reports of its food habits.)

REFERENCES: Bent 1942, Harrison 1979, Phillips et al. 1964, Terres 1980.

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